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What the SAS strike means for travellers in Denmark

The Local Denmark
The Local Denmark - [email protected]
What the SAS strike means for travellers in Denmark
SAS flights listed at Copenhagen airport, July 3rd, 2022. Photo by Andrew Kelly/Reuters/Ritzau Scanpix

As many as 900 pilots from airline SAS are striking after the company and the pilots' unions failed to reach an agreement before Monday afternoon's deadline. Here's how it affects travel from Denmark.

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Scandinavian airline SAS and pilots’ unions in Norway, Denmark and Sweden have failed to reach an agreement to prevent a strike, meaning 900 pilots will go on strike this week.

“How on earth is a strike in the busiest week of the last two-and-a-half years going to help us find and attract investors,” SAS chief executive Anko van der Werff told reporters, criticising what he called a “strike culture” among pilots.

SAS and unions had set a deadline of midday Monday to strike a deal. The strike comes after the two parties agreed to extend the deadline for talks several times in the hopes of coming to an agreement.

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The pilots are employed by SAS’s parent company, SAS Scandinavia, and announced strike action because they are unsatisfied with their salary and working conditions.

“We deeply regret that our customers are affected by this strike, leading to delays and cancelled flights,” van der Werff said in a statement.

On Tuesday SAS said it had filed for so-called Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United
States, as a part of a restructuring plan.

SAS offers passengers the opportunity to rebook

Passengers can rebook equivalent flights for free and are advised to check whether their flight will be affected, SAS said in updated information issued on its website.

“As a precaution SAS offers passengers booked on SAS flights between July 4th – July 9th 2022 the option of rebooking the ticket, free of charge. Passengers can rebook to a SAS flight on another date, within the next 360 days, to the same destination if the same service class as the original ticket is available,” the airline said.

To see if their flight is likely to be affected, passengers are advised to check the status of their flight on the SAS website. Rebookings can be made via the “My Bookings” section.

Passengers who booked their ticket via a travel agent or tour operator should contact them directly, SAS said.

Rebooking may take longer than usual, especially for passengers contacting the airline over the phone. However, the airline also said that there were waiting times for its chat service too.

“SAS apologises for the unusually long waiting times right now on chat and phone and are doing everything we can to assist our customers,” it said.

Denmark flights 

It is estimated that the strike could affect up to 250 daily flights in Denmark, which affects up to 30,000 passengers across Denmark, Sweden and Norway, according to TV2.

It is unknown how long the planes will remain grounded as there are currently no meetings planned between SAS and Dansk Metal, which negotiate on behalf of the pilots.

On Tuesday, more than 20 departures and arrivals have been cancelled at Copenhagen airport, out of over 150 SAS flights.

At Billund Airport, two arrivals and two departures have been cancelled. The strike hasn't affected departures or arrivals in Aalborg or Aarhus on Tuesday. 

Travellers can check the status of their flight and whether it is cancelled here.

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What are passengers rights? 

Passengers whose tickets are cancelled will have some rights under EU legislation. These include the right to choose between getting your money back, getting the next available flight, or changing the booking completely for a later date. 

You are also entitled to assistance free of charge, including refreshments, food, accommodation (if you are rebooked to travel the next day), transport, and communication (two telephone calls, for example). This is regardless of the reasons for cancellation.

EU air passenger rights apply to you if your flight is within the EU or Schengen zone, if it arrives in the EU/Schengen zone from outside the bloc and is operated by an EU-based airline, or if it departs from the EU/ Schengen zone.

READ MORE: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

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